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Old 12-08-2017, 8:57 AM
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Default Policy on unknown encrypted talkgroups

Apologies in advance if this has recently been asked and answered - I searched this forum and didn't find what I was looking for but I did find at least one case where the policy has changed over time.

I won't go too deep into the detail of why I am asking this (yet) but...

I do alot of traveling and monitor systems everywhere I go. As a result, I also submit quite a few updates - from entirely new systems, to new sites and frequencies, changes in control channels, new talkgroups, (lately) lots of "locational" corrections, and even some corrected RFSS/site information.

In doing so, I find that what is an acceptable submission for the database varies depending upon where the system is and who is making the updates.

My question - without further ado for now - what is the policy regarding the submission and posting of encrypted and unknown use talkgroups?

I find myself helping users troubleshoot reception and general scanner use problems quite often and recently, one more than one occasion, the lack of encrypted (and likely) talkgroups being posted resulted in quite a bit of time being consumed only to later learn from folks in that area that the large portion of the system is in fact encrypted. Those of us who try to help and new scanner users would greatly benefit from seeing and knowing, when it applies, that there are lots of talkgroups on a system but an overwhelming majority of them are encrypted (even if usage is unknown).

So what is the current policy and/or should it be changed? At a minimum, there should be consistency across the systems.
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:49 PM
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I'm fairly certain that policy prohibits entering unknown talkgroups into the db. I can say this since I was the wiki admin for quite a while - the wiki is the repository for these, and in fact, we have specific categories and structures set up for handling unknown tgs.

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Old 12-08-2017, 1:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
I'm fairly certain that policy prohibits entering unknown talkgroups into the db. I can say this since I was the wiki admin for quite a while - the wiki is the repository for these, and in fact, we have specific categories and structures set up for handling unknown tgs.

Mike
I understand for general "unknown" (unencrypted) talkgroups. However, unless an "insider" posts talkgroup names, we'll pretty much never really know what the encrypted ones are. But users should still be informed that there are identified talkgroups for a system and/or that some, many or all of them are encrypted.
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Old 12-08-2017, 5:13 PM
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I brought this issue up with the Database Manager.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mciupa
One thing I would like to mention is encrypted talkgroups. We have no way of positively identifying the descriptions and thus will have no entries, even though they are plainly in use.
Answer below

Quote:
Originally Posted by Database Manager
That's the only permitted exception. If it's regularly used by radio IDs known to be a specific agency, it's OK to list that talkgroup as belonging to that agency.
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Old 12-08-2017, 5:29 PM
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So there is no option/possibility of just creating a section of "Unknown Encrypted" talkgroups and putting them there?

If the system is fully encrypted, this essentially simply results in a system being listed with no talkgroups (most likely forever).

If it is a partially (mostly) encrypted system, it just looks like no one has submitted information. There is likely not enough information (RIDS) in the clear to determine specific agencies. Some folks will do that level of analysis to try and determine usage where possible but mostly that just doesn't happen.

So more of why I think this is important (if it has come across already) -- new users are acquiring radios and then asking for help when they can't get their radio to work as expected. Others of us come in and use the information that is (or is not) available trying to lend a hand. If we're lucky - at some point - someone might stumble upon the thread, chime in and tell us the system is partially, mostly, fully encrypted. Having this information readily available in one form or another when we try to assist would go a long, long way to helping resolve this with a whole lot less frustration on everyone's part.

Maybe there's another way - like a system level field that can be consistently used like other fields (WACN, Sysid, System type, etc.)...

There has to be a way....
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Old 12-08-2017, 6:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymail View Post
So there is no option/possibility of just creating a section of "Unknown Encrypted" talkgroups and putting them there?
Not in the database. These entries are encouraged to be listed onto the appropriate Wiki page.

Here is a Wiki page I created.

Toronto Emergency Services Talkgroups - The RadioReference Wiki

All are for the Toronto Police Service, all encrypted. I had them in the database as TPS ### which was against the policy so I migrated them to the Wiki.
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Old 12-08-2017, 6:56 PM
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Ok - well, it's unlikely people would take the time to post lists of unknown encrypted talkgroups... It's even more unlikely that they'll take the time (in general) to update a Wiki page. And, the wiki page isn't as helpful when you have to look in lots of places for the answer.

I'd still like to propose accepting and listing unknown encrypted talkgroups as part of the systems.....
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Old 12-09-2017, 8:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymail View Post
Ok - well, it's unlikely people would take the time to post lists of unknown encrypted talkgroups... It's even more unlikely that they'll take the time (in general) to update a Wiki page. And, the wiki page isn't as helpful when you have to look in lots of places for the answer.<snip>.
This is not correct. There is an 'Unknown Talkgroups' category for practically every state and province. There are multiple ways to access it, and it was designed with this in mind. One of the quickest ways is to use the Findcat command that I wrote about in the wiki forum some time ago; another is to use the Collaboration Categories link found in the Collaboration gateway. Click on that, then Scanner Info, go down to Trunking and click on Unknown Talkgroups. Select the US sub category, then the state you wish to view. A little clumsy but it gets you there pretty succinctly.

Note that this category is bound to a particular trunk system in a state - so if there isn't such an article for a given TRS, it's easy to create it

There are a few other ways to get there; but this gives you an idea on what has been set up and how to access it. And we don't restrict the data the way the DB does, so if you want to list an encrypted TG, go ahead. Just use common sense about making guesses about who is using it. Mike
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Old 12-09-2017, 3:14 PM
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I should have mentioned (DUH!) that you can get to the wiki page for a particular TRS right from the database which has a wiki button it. If there's an Unknown Talkgroups article for it, that's where you'll find it. This is hands down the easiest way to find it

Mike
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Old 12-09-2017, 3:16 PM
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Let's just agree to disagee.
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Old 12-09-2017, 3:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Database Manager
That's the only permitted exception. If it's regularly used by radio IDs known to be a specific agency, it's OK to list that talkgroup as belonging to that agency.
Right Hand, meet Left Hand.

Quote:
All are for the Toronto Police Service, all encrypted. I had them in the database as TPS ### which was against the policy so I migrated them to the Wiki.
Before we can agree on variations in policy, we need to agree on what the basic policy is. It looks like some contributors have either assumed incorrectly about the policy or have been misinformed by local DB admins. That needs to be corrected, and the rest should fall into place.
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Old 12-13-2017, 8:39 AM
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To continue this discussion, while trying to help another new user, I see that it is apparently ok to post "generic" talkgroups with no identifiers other than that it "looks" like these are "assigned to County X". I think I encountered this same situation in the past but I don't know what the stated position was....

Perhaps this is just based on talkgroup id ranges or maybe it's a way to get around unclear rules about posting unknown encrypted talkgroups...?

EDIT: I really don't know what to make of all of the placeholder "EMPTY sites" on ARMER either....
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Last edited by troymail; 12-13-2017 at 9:44 AM..
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:30 AM
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Seeing more inconsistency in posting unknown encrypted talkgroups -- in this case, I really don't find a problem with it and would really like to see a general shift towards this type of listing for all systems vs. removing it....

https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=9608

Radio Techs / Unidentified Talkgroups

TGID 10133
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troymail View Post
Seeing more inconsistency in posting unknown encrypted talkgroups -- in this case, I really don't find a problem with it and would really like to see a general shift towards this type of listing for all systems vs. removing it....

https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?sid=9608

Radio Techs / Unidentified Talkgroups

TGID 10133
I copied that category name from the EDACS system that's being replaced. Once someone identifies that encrypted talkgroup as EMA, Police, etc. I'll move I'll move it to the proper category. Having the ENC talkgroups in that category isn't intended to be permanent.
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubn View Post
I copied that category name from the EDACS system that's being replaced. Once someone identifies that encrypted talkgroup as EMA, Police, etc. I'll move I'll move it to the proper category. Having the ENC talkgroups in that category isn't intended to be permanent.
That would be fine if it was the consistent policy across the board with all admins -- but obviously, it is not.

Before I retired, we had a saying at work ... "temporary" solutions many times become "permanent".
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Old 12-31-2017, 1:17 PM
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Because he is wrong in that. We are not to use the db as an scratchpad. That is wiki land. Its in the handbook for admins. Over the coming months I will catch heat as I will be removing a LOT of these incorrectly listed tg etc from the systems in the states I admin, and tossing em in wiki land. Just because most of our users will not take the time to actually dig into wiki land means nothing. Most of the users dont care about knowing anything beyond... I push button A and hear such and such, why the HECK cant I push button B and hear yadda yadda... Yes, some take time to click beyond ONE post in a forum, or to ACTUALLY READ what is in the DB, and YES this is getting worse due to Uniden, and Whistler, formerly GRE making the plug n play type scanners. Its sooooo simple! Put in zip code and your scanning! With the DB already in the frackin scanner, fewer and fewer are ACTUALLY LOOKING at the DB,.. UNLESS they find the plug n play toy is NOT getting what they think it should and come complaining in the forums. Then here we go, having to baby step them to the data that we work so hard to make so easy to use in the first place, and into this endless debating about mostly stupid tiny things.
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Old 12-31-2017, 1:41 PM
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Times change - policies evolve (usually).
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Old 12-31-2017, 2:13 PM
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Default Closing this thread

All,

The question has been answered yet the pointless debate continues. An earlier post put it succinctly: the database is not a scratchpad.

I'll clarify the policy once more and then this thread will be closed:

Unidentified analog talkgroups are not to be put in the database.

Unidentified encrypted talkgroups are also not to be put in the database. The only exception is a situation where a talkgroup is exclusively used by a particular agency based on radio ID activity, in which case it can be put in the talkgroup category for that agency. This does not mean, however, that hundreds of encrypted talkgroups can be put in the database on the assumption that they're a particular agency.

Business talkgroups, because it's often very difficult to identify a specific company and companies often change, may be listed in business systems as the talkgroup use (snowplow, trash removal, etc) if the company cannot be identified. In this case, it may be listed with an alpha tag giving the use and talkgroup ID (ie "Snowplow 1234").
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